The moment you wake up to find a layer of fresh powder on the hills of nearby landscapes, the sledding hill calls! But whether you're big or small, daring or cautious, how do you know which type of snow float (aka sled or snow tube) is the best for you and/or the fastest on the slopes?
QUALITY OF SNOW
There are a few factors which determine the speed of a craft on a snowy incline, the biggest of which will be the snow itself, so the primary question is, what type of snow will you be riding on?
If the powder is thick and new, or "virgin," and not yet ridden upon, narrow rails will simply sink into the new snow, particularly if it's deep. In these cases, a sled that has a greater surface area, such as an inflatable sled or snow tube, has the advantage. This is because the inflatable types will spread their weight out over a greater surface area and "coast" over the top of the snow, stopping less to pack it down as they travel.
If the snow is nicely packed down...buckle up, and be ready for a fast ride, regardless of your method of transportation.
And of course, regardless of the condition of the snow, don’t forget your helmet!
Aside from the quality of snow, there are several features to consider for durability, speed, and overall performance. Here are some of the key features we build into our winter products here at Kwik Tek (Airhead & Sportsstuff), and how they perform:
NYLON COVERED SNOW TUBES
Price Range: $99.99 $199.99
Our heavy-duty snow tubes are designed to be extra tough. With an internal PVC bladder to provide an air-cushioned ride and a double stitched nylon cover, they’re also extremely strong and provide extra reinforcement when you’re riding over more varied terrain that could potentially puncture a standard PVC tube.
To minimize friction for a fast ride downhill, we use a couple of different materials for the bottom surface of our snow tubes:
It’s also important to note that snow tubes are most durable, and perform at their best when properly inflated. Be sure to read all inflation guides that accompany your snow tube, and remember that they may deflate a bit when exposed to cold air & snow. A hand pump is always a good idea to top them off while you’re on the hill!
Price Range: $14.99-$89.99
We design our inflatable sleds in a variety of shapes for different riders. When it comes to materials, we consistently use a heavy gauge PVC with Cold-Crack additive. This durable PVC ensures a long life (when inflated and used properly) and Cold Crack protects from freezing temperatures that would otherwise cause the PVC to...well...crack.
FOAM & PLASTIC SLEDS
Price Range: $14.99-$89.99
In addition to being lightweight and easy to transport, foam and molded plastic sleds are super durable and can provide a fast ride on packed snow.
We use a couple of different materials to maximize durability and speed:
FOAM SLEDS: XPE Top, Hard PE Core, Slick HDPE Bottom
PLASTIC SLEDS: Molded PE
Foam & plastic sleds can also be super convenient without the need to inflate, but don’t provide the same “luxurious” cushioned ride as their inflated brethren, so when opting for these sleds, be sure to pick routes that are well covered in nicely packed down snow!
YUKON HAMMERHEAD SLEDS
Yukon Hammerhead Sleds have literally, defined their own category.
The variety of materials that go into the making of these “bomb-proof” sleds ensure they will last many many seasons and can handle all sorts of varied terrain. The advanced steering system allows the user to avoid obstacles and go exactly where they want to ride.
Originally inspired by the classic flexible flyer design, these sophisticated sleds take sliding downhill to a whole new level, and provide an exhilarating ride for advanced users!
The way the bottom of sleds and snow tubes are designed is also an important consideration when choosing your downhill ride:
Flat Bottom: Allows sled to ride smoothly down relatively flat surfaces.
Ridged or Railed Bottom: Allows tracking so you can point your sled in a direction down the hill and go that way. Also allows steering by shifting riders’ body weight. Steering and controlling the ride can be really fun!